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Freedom of Information Ordinance, 2002

 

An  ordinance to provide for transparency and freedom of information

   

WHEREAS it is expedient to provide for transparency and freedom of information to ensure that the citizens of Pakistan have improved access to public records and for the purpose to make the Federal Government more accountable to its citizens, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto:

 

AND WHEREAS the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action:

 

NOW, THEREFORE; in pursuance of the Proclamation of Emergency of the fourteenth day of October 1999, and the Provisional Constitution Order No 1. of 1999 read with the Provisional Constitution (Amendment) Order No. 9 of 1999, and in exercise of all powers enabling him in that behalf, the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is pleased to make and promulgate the following Ordinance-

 

  1. Short title, extent and commencement (1) This Ordinance may be called the Freedom of Information Ordinance. 2002.

 

(2)               It extends to the whole of Pakistan

 

(3)               It shall come into force at once

 

  1. Definition :- In this Ordinance, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject of context:-

 

(a)        “Complainant” means

 

(i)                  a requester, or

 

(ii)                any person acting for and on behalf of requester

 

(b)        “Complaint” means any allegation in writing made by a complainant

 

(i)                  where he is a requester that access to records has been wrongfully denied to him by a pubic body.

 

(ii)                Where he is a requester, that access to and/or connection of his personal information has been wrongfully denied to him by a public body having the custody or control of the record.

 

(iii)               Where he is a requester that the information requested by him has been unduly delayed by a public body.

(c)               “designated official” means an official of  public body designated under section 10;

(d)               “employee”, in relation to a public body, means a person employed in  a public body whether permanently or temporary:

 

(e)               “Federal Tax Ombudsman” means Federal Tax appointed under section 3 of the establishment of the office of Federal Tax Ombudsman Ordinance, 2000 (XXXV of 2000):

 

(f)                 “Mohtasib” means the Wafaqi Mohtasib(Ombudsman) appointed under Article 3 of the Establishment of the office of the Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) Order, 1983 (P.O.No. 1 of 1983);

 

(g)               “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Ordinance;

 

  1. Access to information not to be denied.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, and subject to the provision of this Ordinance, no requester shall be denied access to any official record other than exemptions as provided in section 15.

(2)        This Ordinance shall be interpreted so as

(i)                 to advance the purposes of this Ordinance, and

(ii)                to facilitate and  encourage, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost, the disclosure of information.

  1. Maintenance and indexing of record.- Subject to provisions of this Ordinance and in accordance with the rules that may be prescribed, each public body shall ensure that all record covered under clause (i) of section 2 of this Ordinance are properly maintained.
  2. Publication and availability of records.- The acts and subordinate legislation such as rules and regulations, notification, by laws, manuals, orders having the force of law in Pakistan shall be duly published and made available at a reasonable price at an adequate number of outlets so that access thereof is easier, less time-consuming and less-expensive.

 

  1. Computerization of records.- Each public body shall endeavor within reasonable time and subject to availability of resources that all records covered by the provisions of this Ordinance are computerized and connected through a network all over the country on different systems so that authorized access to such records is facilitated.

 

  1. Declaration of public record.-  Subject to the provision of section 8, the following record of all public bodies are hereby declared to be the public record, namely.

(a)                policies and guidelines.

 

(b)               Transactions involving acquisition and disposal of property and expenditure undertaken by a public body in the performance of it duties.

 

(c)                Information regarding grant of licenses, allotments and other benefits and privileges and contracts and agreements made by a public body.

 

(d)               Final orders and decisions, including decisions relating to members of public and

 

(e)                Any other record which may be notified by the Federal Government as public records for the purpose of this Ordinances.

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